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Enjoying some free time, outdoors and in

Now that I have had a few months to settle in, I can start to enjoy a little bit of a break from the busy-ness of life at Town Hall. The first weeks were devoted to getting a feel for my new community and learning the substantial differences in how local and state government differ between Michigan and Connecticut. Now I at least can carve out a little bit of time to have some fun.When it’s not raining in Connecticut (which it seems to have done pretty much every day since early April), I enjoy a few outdoor activities. I like to play golf, but as with most golfers, I never get out to play as much as I would like to. I have also started to play disc golf (“Frisbee” golf). This is a casual and inexpensive way to get out and enjoy a walk in the park, but the closest such course is located in Bristol. This game is quickly gaining popularity among older teens and younger adults, but can be enjoyed by all ages.I have also started playing Ultimate Frisbee with a group in this area. The group gathers on Mondays and Wednesdays to play, but typically, due to meetings, I can only make the Wednesday session. The game can be described as soccer with a Frisbee. It had been many years since I last played, and it is difficult to keep pace with athletes 20 years younger, but it sure is fun to play.My most favorite free time activity, however, is playing board games. I have collected games since my high school years, and my collection now numbers close to 400 games. Games are relatively inexpensive entertainment and very social. The games that I enjoy playing are somewhat outside of the mainstream popular games with which most people are familiar, such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit.My first games were military-oriented, published by a now-defunct company named Avalon Hill. The games covered various military themes and eras: naval warfare since the American Revolution; air battles since World War I; infantry actions, on a variety of scales, since the Roman Empire; and future battles in space and on other planets. Most of these games are strictly for two players and make for a very challenging evening. My most enjoyed military game is called Advanced Squad Leader, a game that can re-create most any World War II infantry action — mainly due to its over 100-page rulebook (a “starter” version uses a 12-page rulebook to orient beginners).For lighter gaming fare (but no less competitive), I have games that cover a variety of topics, most being playable from two to six players. Most of these games are described as “Eurogames”: Gaming is much more popular in Europe, especially Germany, and most of these games do not use dice, but rather cards.I have civilization-building games, train games, economic games, adventure games, racing games and political games. Some of the more obscure and interesting topics include a game of medieval farming, German parliamentary politics, bean farming and global epidemics. Most likely, a game can be found covering any topic.The best online resource for learning about these games is www.boardgamegeek.com. At this site, hundreds of thousands of gamers worldwide pose and answer questions and offer reviews of the thousands of games catalogued. While online shopping, as usual, is often less expensive and these games can be very hard to find locally, I prefer to support traditional stores with my gaming purchases. Unfortunately, I have not found such a store in Connecticut yet. In many cases, such stores are closely located to university environments due to student interest, but I haven’t had the chance to explore those areas yet.I have heard that the Beardsley & Memorial Library has previously sponsored a family game night. I would be interested in learning why that activity stopped and perhaps offer to host or sponsor another game night for the community. It is a great way to spend an evening with the company of others in a much more social environment than online or video gaming. Dale Martin is the town manager for the town of Winchester.

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